Archie Rankin, Head of Finance & Political Economy Editor
As the passing of her late Majesty was announced an hour ago, a sombre, melancholy note struck at the heartstrings of the people of the United Kingdom, and the world. For seventy years, the throne had been occupied by a monarch who, unwavering in her duty to her country and her subjects, became the embodiment of constitutional monarchy. Today, we wave farewell to our beloved Queen, and welcome a King
The longest-reigning British monarch has witnessed it all. From Suez to the Troubles, the Falklands to the pandemic, the office of Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms has been inhabited by an unyielding sovereign, a symbol of British perseverance, character and dignity. The words ‘Operation London bridge’ confirm her reign, shorter only than that of Louis XIV of France, has finally come to an end.
Despite the political turmoil that the last 70 years has brought, throughout the struggle, scandal and hardship, our sovereign has stood fast. Even today, the union between the four nations of the British Isles hangs in political question. Foreign governments and heads of state look on as the Kingdom that once controlled a quarter of the globe begins to show signs of teetering. It is only because of the stoic and inspiring image of the Queen that our union has survived until now.
Yet, the monarch’s death is a huge point in the life of our country, and the history of the United Kingdom, and indeed, the world. Perhaps, the significance of such an event is furthered by the fact that the Queen departed from this life at Balmoral, her beloved home in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
This may bring the union closer together as the four nations come together to mourn. Leaving aside the advances of Scottish nationalism, and the question of the Northern Ireland protocol, the United Kingdom has lost a sovereign. A union in mourning.
As we had awaited the arrival of a new Prime Minister just two days ago, we now await a new King, who, we are informed, is to be styled King Charles III. His namesake, of course, being King Charles II. Let us hope that we await another merry monarch.
Yet now, as of this moment, the country has ground to a halt to pay their respects to the Queen, which are due in their millions. As I have said time and again; this country always seems to do Queens better than we do Kings.
History will always look back on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II as one of rapid change, ups and downs, and no small degree of turbulence. Yet our Queen reigned with solidarity, and the country could always look to the balcony of Buckingham Palace, or the walls of Windsor for inspiration. A role model to the constitutional monarchs of the future, a role model to all; Queen Elizabeth II.
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